The Colts have "guarded optimism" that quarterback Andrew Luck will be ready for Indianapolis' first regular game against the Chargers on Sept. 8. Luck is currently dealing with a high-left ankle injury that is a result of the calf strain he continues to deal with.
Peyton Manning, the man Luck replaced in 2012, believes that the Colts' current franchise quarterback will be good to go when Indianapolis kicks off the regular season. Manning, who attended his first Colts' training camp practice since 2011 (his last season with the Colts) on Thursday, was asked about Luck, who was officially ruled out of playing for the remainder of the preseason on Tuesday.
"Just encourage him," Manning said of his recent interactions with Luck. "Wish him luck. I know he wants to be out here. I know that's always the hardest thing when I was not playing with him not being out there. You wanna be out there participating. I know he's dying to get out here and be back as soon as he can. I'm pulling for him to be healthy for Week 1 when it really matters and counts. I feel pretty good about him being out there."
While Luck, the first overall pick in the 2012 draft, is a five-time Pro Bowl quarterback, he has also dealt with various injuries over the past several years. After beginning his career with 51 consecutive starts, a shoulder injury forced Luck to miss two days during the first half of the 2015 season. He then missed the final seven games of that season after suffering a lacerated kidney and a partially torn abdominal muscle.
The shoulder injury Luck sustained in 2015 bothered him throughout the 2016 season, eventually forcing him to undergo surgery in January of 2017 that kept him out for the entire season. Luck returned to Pro Bowl form in 2018, playing in all 16 regular season games and leading the Colts to the divisional round of the AFC playoffs.
Manning also knows a thing or two about overcoming injuries. He missed the entire 2011 season after undergoing three surgeries that included spinal fusion surgery. Manning enjoyed immediate success the following season in Denver, leading the league in completion percentage. In 2013, he led the NFL in passing yards and passing touchdowns while guiding the Broncos to an AFC title. He retired shortly after helping lead Denver to a victory in Super Bowl 50 two years later.
Tony Dungy, a Hall of Fame coach who led the Colts to their first Super Bowl title in 2006, was also back at Colts' training camp on Thursday. Dungy, who like Manning believes that Luck will be fine by the start of the regular season, lauded head coach Frank Reich's handling of the situation.
"Frank's on the right page," Dungy said, per the Indianapolis Star. "You do everything you can to support Andrew, to get him ready and you let the team know: We're looking forward to Andrew being back. But if he's not back, we still have to win games. And we still can win games. That's the mindset it's got to be. To treat it as, 'We're supporting Andrew, but we're also gearing up and getting ready to go. And we're going to be fine. If Andrew gets back, we know we're going to be great. If Andrew doesn't get back until Week 2 or Week 3 or Week 5, we still have to be great until he gets back.'"